Stolen Childhood: Slave Youth in Nineteenth-Century America

Stolen Childhood: Slave Youth in Nineteenth-Century America

Stolen Childhood: Slave Youth in Nineteenth-Century America

Stolen Childhood: Slave Youth in Nineteenth-Century America

Synopsis

One of the most important books published on slave society, Stolen Childhood focuses on the millions of children and youth enslaved in 19th-century America. This enlarged and revised edition reflects the abundance of new scholarship on slavery that has emerged in the 15 years since the first edition. While the structure of the book remains the same, Wilma King has expanded its scope to include the international dimension with a new chapter on the transatlantic trade in African children, and the book's geographic boundaries now embrace slave-born children in the North. She includes data about children owned by Native Americans and African Americans, and presents new information about children's knowledge of and participation in the abolitionist movement and the interactions between enslaved and free children.

Excerpt

During the intervening years since the publication of Stolen Childhood in 1995, an abundance of scholarship on slavery has appeared and enriched our knowledge about the institution of slavery across geographical regions and about enslaved children who came of age before 1865. For example, it is now known that the number of youthful Africans transported into the New World was greater than many had believed previously. In fact, the estimates range from one-fourth to one-third to the total. Moreover, a variety of sources, including Erik Hofstee’s dissertation “The Great Divide: Aspects of the Social History of the Middle Passage in the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade,” the Transatlantic Slave Trade Database (CD-ROM), narratives by Middle Passage survivors, and the special edition of Slavery and Abolition 27 (August 2006), make data about enslaved children more readily available than ever before. As a result, this work devotes attention to the transatlantic trade in African children in the chapter titled “‘In the Beginning’: The Transatlantic Trade in Children of African Descent.”

Another rationale for including a chapter about the transatlantic trade is the sheer number of children transported and the fact that youngsters were sought after by captains interested in filling their holds quickly with “affordable” chattel. And after the United States ended its participation in the overseas trade in Africans, an illegal trade continued and children remained a likely choice in the business of buying, transporting, and selling Africans.

The scope of Stolen Childhood has been increased in another way to include slave-born children in the North. The abolition of slavery in the . . .

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